The other day some friends and I, mostly kids, attended a "monkey show". It stared a monkey, and a very different kind of animal I had never seen before. I really was surprised.
I've talked about this before, but gender equality is important to me. Some of the women I know don't believe that. The fact is, I have seen more sexism directed against men than I have women, and I'll speak up for anyone being judged based on how they were born.
The show we saw was billed as "Monkey Business with Frankie the Monkey". It was mostly a man doing some comedy, some magic, and a monkey doing a few tricks. The jokes and magic were lame, and the trained monkey would have been more impressive if he didn't require a treat every few seconds to keep his attention. But these things did entertain the kids, so I'd have to say that was successful enough. What I do fault him for was his attitude towards gender.
He began by asking for volunteers. A lot of hands went up; little hands. Kids excited to see a monkey close up. Then he clarified, "real tough guys". Half the hands went down. He made a big show of how he needed "boys" who were "manly", and "real tough guys" He picked three, and then spent some time getting them to attest that they were in fact, "tough guys." He had them take there seats again to recall during the volunteer portion of the show.
He eventually did recall them, and proceeded to scare them. Now I'm not sure how I feel about that. It didn't seem kind, but it can be fun to be scared, and I don't think he traumatized them or anything. What appalled me is that, when the boys acted scared, he then told them they weren't very manly, and were, "acting like little girls." At one point he even produced a pink ball cap to taunt the boys with very notion that one of them might be the owner of a *gasp* pink cap.
I had never seen such blatant negative sexism, and it was against women. Suddenly all of the self proclaimed feminists would have a shining example to point to. But no one was pointing. I looked over at a friend who calls herself a feminist. She was holding one of her little girls, and smiling. What was happening?
When the show ended, I went off to her about it. She didn't like it either, but didn't want to ruin the fun. I got the impression she wasn't shocked because this sort of thing wasn't all that uncommon for her. Is it that they see sexism everywhere, even where it isn't, and become desensitized?
I wrote an email, and got an immediate response. A women in charge of customer service for the theme park they were performing at promised to print my email, and see what the handler had to say about it. She promised me that is not the message they are trying to send to the children. I was glad to finally find a voice of sanity.